Do You Love America’s Youth?

in The Life Slant by
*More dead kids.  Another devastated town.  We mourn, we complain and we do nothing.  NOTHING!

As tiresome as it is to listen to NRA Nutz misquote, misinterpret and misuse the Second Amendment, and as badly as we need gun ownership regulation of some sort – as the Second Amendment dictates – gun control legislation is not going to stop these monstrous school killings; at least not any time soon.  Even if gun control legislation passed this afternoon it would take decades before guns weren’t readily available – if then.

Meanwhile, is there a way to make schools safe for our children now?  Maybe.  Maybe not 100% effectively 100% of the time, but surely we can do better than this.

Let’s start by dismissing the stupidest idea, which is to arm teachers; people who are by their very nature nurturers, encouragers, supporters, educators.  Oh sure, there are bound to be teachers that hunt and even some that belong to the NRA!  But by and large the main effect arming teachers would have is that there would be far fewer teachers – vets and especially newbies.  These are lovers, not fighters; growers, not destroyers; forward-looking optimists that we need more of, not less.

So, having vented about the idiocy running the show, here are some do-able, effective ways to at least reduce the number of innocent youth slaughtered each year:

  • Each and every school must add at least three non-certified (not teachers) employees: two as plain-clothes armed security and at least one to monitor the video surveillance system.
  • In the same vein as Fire Drills, Safety Drills must be implemented.
  • Safe places that look like dugouts and not bomb shelters need to be a part of each playground.
  • School-wide alarms – with both silent alerts (flashing lights in classrooms) and a special audible signal must be installed in each school.

At least two well-trained former military or police personnel should roam every school – one indoors and one outdoors.  These people need to be ready to kill an intruder.  There needs to be a standardized training program that is seriously overseen and monitored.  Teachers are not asked to participate in this training; administrators may if they choose to but could not count as one of the security people.

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In 2019 it just doesn’t cost that much to install video surveillance systems – unless of course it becomes a government contract.  So each district will be required to hire someone local and whose installation must meet required specifications.  At least one person trained to monitor such a system must be employed.  If only one person is to serve in that capacity then two other non-certified personnel (office staff) must be trained just as thoroughly as the primary person, in order to spell him/her.

Safe places must be both identified and created.  Perhaps closets enlarged and doors reinforced, friendly-looking safe places built as part of playgrounds along with classrooms, gyms and auditoriums that can be effectively locked down with the press of an alarm (think fire alarm on wall).

Now comes the hard part:  Do you love America’s youth?
Yeah?
How much?
Enough to pay for them to be safe?”

Each student and staff member must be trained to be aware of the nearest safest place from anywhere on campus and near campus.  Special alarms to facilitate both silent and audible alarms must be installed at each school.  Safety Drills à la Fire Drills or the Air Raid Drills those over 60 will recall must be regular occurrences.  Silent alarm procedures and audible alarm procedures must both be practiced.

Now comes the hard part:  Do you love America’s youth?  Yeah?  How much?  Enough to pay for them to be safe?  Or just enough to sit around and mourn and do nothing?   And watch more die next week?  And the next?

The conundrum is that once Mr. & Mrs. America’s kids have left the nest they feel like they’ve done their part and shouldn’t have to pay for anyone else’s kids.  Sad to say, but grandparents are often even more vocal with reasons why they shouldn’t have to pay for education or kid-safety, as they haven’t had a kid in the house in years.  File it under ‘how soon they forget’, because it’s the parents who while raising kids usually cannot afford more taxes, while Mr. & Mrs. and Gramma and Grampa can afford to chip in!

To everyone that has a reason why they don’t want to pay more taxes to improve America’s children’s chances of surviving public school, I ask again: Do you love America’s youth?

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Go to the grocery store and look around until you see that cute kid sitting in the little seat in the shopping cart while her mom tries to figure out how to choose a cantaloupe.  Do you love her?  Do you hope she is happy?  Do you hope she has a good life with all the advantages you had?  Do you want the best for her even though you don’t know her?  Do you love her?  And all the other little hims and hers?  Are you a cruel, unfeeling turtle-faced Republican farce or do you have a beating heart?

Check your pulse and if there’s something there, get used to the idea that we can’t make our kids safe for free and that we need – no, we want to pony up.  We want to be a better country, a better state, a better school district and better Americans.  We want to protect out youth and we have the means.

The suggestions made here are not meant to be cure-alls, but they are a reasonable, affordable start.

Do you love America’s youth?

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Reeno

–  REENO  –

A graduate of Portland State University, Steve Kloser is the author of Beginning Band – A Guide to Success. Accomplished teacher, conductor, composer web developer, Packers Fan, and Proud American, Reeno’s usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on old and new. He currently lives on the Portland, OR area.

Catch Steve on Twitter

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A graduate of Portland State University, Steve Kloser is the author of “Beginning Band - A Guide to Success” and “Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course”. He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including: La Vida and Fly With Me. Teacher, web developer, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new. Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR. Read more at www.reeno317.me or follow Reeno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/portlandreeno.